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[pawl] /pɔl/

a pivoted bar adapted to engage with the teeth of a ratchet wheel or the like so as to prevent movement or to impart motion.
verb (used with object)
to check or hold with a pawl.
a pivoted lever shaped to engage with a ratchet wheel to prevent motion in a particular direction

“bar preventing a capstan from recoiling” (nautical) 1620s, of unknown origin; perhaps from French pal “stake” [OED] or épaule “shoulder” [Klein].


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